Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 260 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/03/2024

Project Features

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AIC Mbao Primary School is located in a dry area of Kenya that is often characterized by prolonged spells of drought. Water is, therefore, a huge problem for the school as it is not often easily available.

The school depends on rainwater collected in a 10,000-liter plastic tank from an adjacent classroom's roof. The water is then highly rationed in a bid to serve all the school's needs. Even then, the water usually runs out in fewer than two months after the rains end because it is far too small to meet the needs of the 260 students and staff.

The strict rationing of the water when it is available forces students to carry water to school each day. When the tank is dry, they have to carry even more water to meet their needs and to support the feeding program at the school. The water is often sourced from open and unsafe scoop holes from the nearest riverbed. This has proven to be burdensome for the students. with rampant cases of absenteeism being reported as a result of drinking dirty water.

"We are struggling with water challenges in school," said senior teacher Agnes Mwaniki.

The school has experienced poor levels of hygiene and sanitation because of the low water supply, she said. The school has a garbage disposal pit and enough latrines to accommodate all of the students. However, the hygiene and sanitation levels at the school are below average due to the infrequency of washing their latrines.

Rainwater Catchment Tank

We will build a 104,000-liter rainwater catchment tank for this school. This water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff. Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, such as sand and stone. They will also lend some strong arms to help with the actual construction.

The huge capacity of this tank makes the others look tiny in comparison; 104,000 liters should be enough water to carry students and staff through the entire dry season. As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking, and cleaning!


Students and staff will be trained for one day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices both at school and at home. They will learn all of the steps to proper handwashing, how to treat water, and how to keep their environment clean. The school will also be taught how to best oversee and maintain their new rainwater catchment tank and handwashing stations.

Handwashing Stations

3 handwashing stations will be delivered at the project’s completion. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with 3 taps each. The health club and school management will be responsible for making sure tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is available.

About the School

The school was started by the Mbau community members in 1984 through the Africa Inland Church. It was then taken up by the Ministry of Education and it currently operates as a government school. Parents do not have to pay school fees to send their children since the school is registered as a Free Primary Education Institute.

The school is based in a rural area that is peaceful and provides a conducive environment for learning. The area is evenly vegetative and the school buildings are somewhat well maintained. Some classrooms have concrete floors while others have dirt floors.

Project Updates

February, 2020: AIC Mbao Primary School Project Complete!

AIC Mbao Primary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which has the ability to collect 104,000 liters of water. We installed handwashing stations and we trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. All of these components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"We are very happy about the installation of this water project in our school. It has come at a time when the water crisis is very intense in the area," said Principal Charles Mwendwa.

"It is a great relief for us to have this tank in our school as it will also reduce the financial strain that we have been experiencing in the school."

Rain Tank

AIC Mbao Primary School is affiliated with the Yangondi Self-Help Group since most of its members’ children attend here. These parents and the school administration approached the self-help group committee and requested their help in alleviating the water shortage at the school.

The Process

A meeting with all of the parents and the Head Teacher was then held to plan out the project. Parents agreed to collect construction materials like sand, rocks, and water. We would complement their materials by delivering the expertise, tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system.

This tank is a whopping 104,000 liters not because of a large student population, but because of how rarely it rains in Southeastern Kenya. The more water we can store during the seasonal rains, the more water available through the dry months.

Construction for this large rain tank is much like the construction of a concrete house. First, the ground is leveled for foundation excavation.

Alternating layers of impermeable rocks are laid upon mortar up to 7 feet high, with internal and external diameters of 25 and 28 feet respectively.

A reinforced concrete column is built right up to the center of the tank, which holds up the roof and prevents it from caving in. The walls are then plastered both internally and externally with waterproof cement. After that, several feet of guttering is installed and channeled into the tank. The roofing is made of iron sheets and timber. There are vents to allow rainwater into the tank from the gutters.

School leadership is armed with the technical skills to ensure that the water tank remains functional, and gaps that exist can be identified through our ongoing monitoring visits.

"We are very grateful for this project. The students will also have cleaner water to drink," said Principal Mwendwa.

Handwashing Stations

3 new handwashing stations were delivered in time for training so that they could be used for handwashing demonstrations. Each of these has 3 taps so that 9 students can wash their hands at the same time.

New Knowledge

The hygiene and sanitation training was planned by the area field officer, Bendetta Makau, who contacted the principal to schedule a date that would allow for all of the students to attend. On the day of training, the weather was very sunny and the heat was unfathomable.

The training was conducted in a school hall that accommodated most of the students. It was a conducive environment for learning. In total, more than 100 students attended. Some could not join since they were sitting for their end-of-year national exams.

We went over topics including student health club activities; disease transmission; preventing the spread of disease; personal hygiene; handwashing; water hygiene; food hygiene; latrine hygiene; and soapmaking.

The level of participation by this group was exquisite, noted our teams. Both the students and teachers displayed immense interest in the topics of discussion due to their involvement in asking and answering questions. The participants were conversant with most topics of discussion and the students were very willing to partake in the activities.

The most memorable topic of discussion for the students was soapmaking. The students, in collaboration with the trainer, prepared 20 liters of soap. The students received the instructions from the trainer concerning the ingredients, recipe, and the procedure to make the soap.

"The knowledge gained from this training - especially on soapmaking - will come in handy both at home and at school. We will practice the skills which will help in sustaining good hygiene and sanitation," said Alex, a student at the school.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: AIC Mbao Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at AIC Mbao Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue by building a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

Project Photos

Project Type

For a rainwater collection system, we build gutters around a building with good, clean roofing to channel rain where we want it. From there, the water falls through a filtered inlet pipe into a high-capacity storage tank, the size of which is based on population and average rainfall patterns. In the tank, water can be stored for months, where it is easily treated and accessed. Learn more here!


Project Sponsor - In loving memory of Mom
17 individual donor(s)